Waiting on the Lord

By | December 4, 2016

clocksquareIn the Christian life, we are often called to the business of waiting on the Lord. Some waits are shorter, like waiting for a child to recover from a cold. Other waits can last decades, like waiting for a spouse to change. Learning to wait well is an important discipline of grace that we should strive to excel at.

How well do you wait? Admittedly, I have seen waiting as a bad thing, but now I see that waiting is part of the way God changes me and how he maximizes the display of His glory in history. By forcing me to wait, God rescues me from my own plans, human wisdom, and false hopes.

In his book Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp explains that waiting is necessary because we live in a fallen world that is damaged by the Fall. This world is not as it should be. We are rightly upset at the brokenness that we see around us. And so we wait with hope in the revelation of the glory of God. As followers of Jesus, we eagerly wait for the return of our King, who will set all things right. His kingdom has already arrived, but is not fully consummated. We pray His kingdom come and we wait for His return with patience.

What exactly is waiting? Tripp says, “Waiting is living through those moments when you do not understand what God is doing and you have no power to change your circumstances for the better.” (p.114) So waiting becomes an opportunity for us to grow in our faith. Waiting means hoping and trusting in the Lord, even as we patiently endure suffering and wrestle with his sovereignty and goodness.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

What does it look like to wait on the Lord? Do we sit around and twiddle our thumbs, staring around aimlessly at the wall like patients in the waiting room of a doctor’s office? No! Far from that… rather than being passive, waiting is an intentional and active task. It is remembering who God is and trusting Him even when we do not understand what he is doing. “Waiting becomes immediately easier when you realize God is sovereign (and you are not) and when you further reflect on the reality that he is the ultimate source of everything that is wise, loving, and good.” (p.116-117)

Waiting is an opportunity for us to remember that God is the author of our story. We become in tune with the reality that He is King. We believe His promises. Abraham believed God, when others would have written God off (). “You see, waiting is not an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan. And you can know this as well: the Lord who has called you to wait is with you in your wait. He hasn’t gone off to do something else, like the doctor whose appointment you wait for.  No, God is near and he provides for all that you need to be able to wait.” (p.119)

And so waiting on the Lord becomes a sweet time where we treasure the Lord for who He is and rest in His faithfulness.  “Waiting is one of God’s most powerful tools of grace. God doesn’t just give us grace for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait… Waiting is more than being patient as situations and other people change. Waiting is about understanding that you and I desperately need to change, and that waiting is a powerful tool of personal change. God is using the grace of waiting to change us at the causal core of our personhood, the heart. Now that’s a good thing!” (p.117)

Hard circumstances become an opportunity for us to see Jesus more clearly and grow in our faith. We pray, “Your will be done.” We seek to be agents of redemption. We read his word to see His beautiful face (). We become students of the character and power of God. The more we see God as he really is, the stronger our faith becomes.

We learn to worship God in the moments of uncertainty, resting in what is certain. God calls us to purify our hearts and motives. Waiting exposes what our hearts truly hope in. It reveals our false trusts and idols. Do we hope in a change of circumstances, or do we hope in God who promises to be with us in our tough circumstances ()? Do we seek salvation from one of God’s good gifts or do we we put God in His rightful place, making Him our deliverer and source of joy and peace ()?

Waiting on the Lord is an opportunity for us to remember that this world is not our home. Suffering is a reminder to us to gaze at eternity (, ). C.S. Lewis stated, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Or consider these lines from a song by Switchfoot, “We were meant to live for so much more.  Have we lost ourselves? … We want more than this world’s got to offer.”

By forcing us to be still and know that he is God, God in his goodness calls us to reflect on eternity and the eternal hope to which we have been called (, ). We begin to cry out, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” ()

May God give you the grace to glorify Him in your wait.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. –

photo credit: Mike Procario 02.02.2014 via photopin (license)


I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning. (ESV)


18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (ESV)


You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.” (ESV)


Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation (ESV)


20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 62:5

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 62:5

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him. (ESV)


16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (ESV)


18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (ESV)


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (ESV)


27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (ESV)


20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (ESV)


30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)